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Mac Tottie enters frame for Grand National
Mac Tottie brushed aside Senior Citizen to take the prize in the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree and handler Peter Bowen is keeping his hopes of sending the eight-year-old into the Grand National well and truly alive.
Mac Tottie boosted his chances of being aimed at the Grand National following an excellent showing in the Grand Sefton, thus further enhancing Bowen’s impressive record over the famous Aintree fences. The Welsh handler has saddled no less than four winners in the Topham Chase at the Grand National meeting, Dunbrody Millar’s success in 2007 being followed by a hat-trick for Always Waining in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Bowen came very close to getting his first Grand National win in 2007 when entry McKelvey finished three-quarters of a length behind Silver Birch. In Mac Tottie, Bowen is of the opinion that he has another serious contender for success in the famous steeplechase.
Having been well beaten when finishing last from four at Fontwell in his seasonal reappearance a few weeks ago, Mac Tottie clearly enjoyed the switch to the Grand National fences and jumped very well for the handler’s son James Bowen. Heavily-backed Senior Citizen was the biggest danger throughout the run-in but 20/1 punt Mac Tottie saw him off by a length with third-placed Manwell some twelve lengths further behind.
Following the race, the winning trainer said: “That was good. It’s the fifth time we’ve won round those fences – it’s been a lucky place for us.
“I have no idea why they seem to take to it. We do a lot of loose schooling, and they seem to find their own way from there.
“We just missed out in the National with Mckelvey, and hopefully this will end up being a National horse – I think he’ll stay.
“He came here in good form. Things didn’t go quite right for him last time, because he lost a shoe and didn’t really stride out after that.
“He could come back here for the Becher next month, but we’ll see how he is and speak to the owners.”
Son James was delighted with his first victory over the National fences. He said:
“It’s unbelievable. To do it for my dad makes it extra special.
“I didn’t miss one fence. He’s only small, but he’s so neat and has got loads of scope.
“I got to the front way too soon, but the loose horse helped me out for a little while, and he probably kept a little bit up his sleeve.
“I’d ride any of dads’ horses over a National fence. It’s nice to come here and have the confidence in them to go and jump.”